Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2019, Vol. 74 ›› Issue (3): 475-489.doi: 10.11821/dlxb201903006

Special Issue: 气候变化与地表过程

• Land Use and Ecosystem Services • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Spatio-temporal pattern and evolution of the urban thermal landscape in metropolitan Beijing between 2003 and 2017

Zhi QIAO1(), Ningyu HUANG1, Xinliang XU2, Zongyao SUN3, Chen WU1, Jun YANG4()   

  1. 1. School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Tianjin University, Tianjin 300072, China
    2. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, State Key Laboratory of Resources and Environmental Information Systems, Beijing 100101, China
    3. College of Geography and Environment, Shandong Normal University, Jinan 250014, China
    4. Human Settlements Research Center, Liaoning Normal University, Dalian 116029, Liaoning, China
  • Received:2017-11-20 Revised:2018-12-26 Online:2019-03-25 Published:2019-03-19
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41501472, No.41771178


Urban heat islands resulting from land use and land cover change have become a major barrier to urbanization and sustainable development of ecological urban environments. Although many studies have focused on the interannual and seasonal characteristics of urban heat islands, there has been no comparative analysis of the urban surface thermal landscape at multiple spatio-temporal scales. This study described the spatio-temporal patterns of the urban surface thermal landscape in different seasons and by time of day (daytime/nighttime) in terms of quantity, shape, and structure using MODIS LST products, and revealed the evolution of the urban surface thermal landscape using mapping techniques and analysis of barycenter trajectories in metropolitan Beijing between 2003 and 2017. The conclusions were as follows: (1) The characteristics of the urban surface thermal landscape vary significantly in different seasons and by time of day. (2) The medium-temperature zone constitutes the largest proportion of the area of metropolitan Beijing, which is the most unstable area during the daytime and the instability of the sub-high-temperature and sub-low-temperature zones increased at night. (3) The stable zone is most important in terms of the change in the land surface thermal landscape, followed by the repeated-changes zone and the zone where the change occurred in the first 5 years. The changes of different temperature zones usually increased or decreased progressively. There was a cooling trend in the mountains. In the north mountain-transition zone, the process of transferring between sub-low temperature and medium temperature was repeated. There was a warming trend in the south. (4) The area of the high-temperature zone increased from 2003 to 2017 and its barycenter was concentrated in the city center; the barycenter of the low-temperature zone moved to the urban fringe. The ecological conservation development zone made the greatest contribution to the surface thermal landscape in metropolitan Beijing. The spatio-temporal distribution and evolution of the urban surface thermal landscape support management decisions aimed at alleviating the effect of the urban heat island.

Key words: urban thermal landscape, spatiotemporal pattern, transition probability matrix, barycenter trajectory, MODIS, Beijing